8 Kitchens That Make Clutter Look Good

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

In my own life, and for the purposes of these cleaning columns, I aspire to a zero-clutter kitchen. In the evenings, I dutifully re-home my kids’ artwork and sort the mail and put away the dry dishes to get the countertops clean. I’m pretty ruthless with my gadget drawers and pantry. And for someone who loves to entertain, I feel like I have a fairly minimal glassware collection.

But sometimes I see someone’s cluttered kitchen, bursting with so much charm, and I can’t help but fall in love with it. So often people’s personalities come through when their favorite items are on display, whether it’s crocks and crocks of wooden spoons or just stacks of monochrome dishware. In this era of so many people striving to be minimalist, bohemian maximalism feels refreshing. Don’t believe me? Here are eight kitchens that make clutter look good.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

1. Vintage and homey

In this teeny kitchen, the upbeat color palette just about erases the effect of the aging cabinets. All the canisters and vintage cookware make it feel instantly homey, and the abundance of floral patterns — plus an actual plant, possibly too close to the stovetop — bring the outdoors in.

See more: Boho Maximalism in Western Australia at Apartment Therapy

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

2. Spices on display

I keep my spices behind closed cabinet doors, but here — displayed inside industrial-style shelves alongside the handmade pots and much-loved skillets and tiny sculptures — the mismatched spice containers add to the charm. You get the feeling that every item you see is equally used and loved.

Take the tour: Rustic & Cozy Cabin Vibes in Los Angeles at Apartment Therapy

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. A collection of Pyrex

I come back to this house again and again, and it’s not just the hot-pink bedroom: Those stacks and stacks of plates and Pyrex dishes just bring me so much joy. While I find it hard to believe that one woman needs quite so many dishes, I can’t help but be inspired by the love that went into finding each of the pieces in her collection and adding to it over time.

Keep snooping: Kristen’s Bluebird of Happiness House at Apartment Therapy

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

4. Busy but neutral

With a shortage of countertop and cabinet space, this couple’s kitchenware is on display — but their mix of textures and toned-down colors feels soothing, not stifling. I love the contrast of the wood tones against the shiny copper pots and matte black chalkboard labels and appliances.

See the rest of the home: Joanna & Kevin’s Constantly Changing, Yesteryear-Inspired Apartment at Apartment Therapy

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

5. A sentimental space

Yes, I’ve read that taking all the junk off the refrigerator doors is one of the quickest ways to make your kitchen look neater, but in this kitchen the collection of photos, postcards, and other paraphernalia act like wallpaper to give the space a shot of color and pattern than complements the teal-and-white color scheme way better than boring stainless steel would have.

See more: Susan’s Colorful Cabinet of Curiosities at Apartment Therapy

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

6. Shelves and storage galore

Although most of the shelves are filled with white and clear dinnerware, it’s the vibrant yellow tea tins that give this kitchen its charm. Tucked among dry goods stored in upcycled glass jars and a small collection of spices, they give the space an easy, upbeat energy.

7. A utilitarian pegboard

Who needs art when you can hang pegboard? Atop the bright-red wall, this utilitarian display of pots and pans is the focal point of the ultra-bright kitchen, where everything you’d need to cook a meal is right within reach.

See more: Kate Payne’s Warm East Austin Home at Apartment Therapy

(Image credit: Alicia Macias)

8. Stainless and warm

Rarely do I find stainless steel and gray to be a warm combo, but in this kitchen, they balance the brick walls and wooden shelves to make the teeny space feel homey and modern at the same time. The dried flowers, flea-market finds, and jumble of cookware just add to the coziness.

What do you think? Are you Team Minimalist or Team Maximalism?